- Hannah Upp had been missing for nearly two weeks when she was seen at the Apple Store in midtown Manhattan. Her friends, most of them her former classmates from Bryn Mawr, had posted a thousand flyers about her disappearance on signposts and at subway stations and bus stops. It was September, 2008, and Hannah, a middle-school teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a public school in Harlem, hadn’t shown up for the first day of school. Her roommate had found her wallet, passport, MetroCard, and cell phone in her purse, on the floor of her bedroom. The News reported, “Teacher, 23, Disappears Into Thin Air.”
A detective asked Hannah’s mother, Barbara Bellus, to come to the Thirtieth Precinct, in Harlem, to view the Apple Store surveillance footage. Barbara watched a woman wearing a sports bra and running shorts, her brown hair pulled into a high ponytail, ascend the staircase in the store. A man stopped her and asked if she was the missing teacher in the news. Barbara said, “I could see her blow off what he was saying, and I knew instantly it was her—it was all her. She has this characteristic gesture. It’s, like, ‘Oh, no, no, don’t you worry. You know me, I’m fine.’ ” Another camera had captured Hannah using one of the store’s laptops to log in to her Gmail account. She looked at the screen for a second before walking away.